Agnieszka Radwanska, in her own words, survived her third-round match at the U.S. Open.
On a steamy Saturday at Flushing Meadows, the second-seeded Pole was relieved to beat Jelena Jankovic in straight sets — and even that 6-3, 7-5 victory took one hour 38 minutes.
“I was feeling like I was melting there,” Radwanska said. “I survived the match. In the second set, I was just better for a couple of points.”
Fourth-seeded Serena Williams also needed a while to win in straight sets, beating Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-0 in one hour, 21 minutes. Makarova upset the 14-time Grand Slam champ at this year’s Australian Open.
Radwanska was broken four times, but she converted six of seven break-point chances against the 30th-seeded Serb.
While Radwanska is ranked a career-high No. 2 and coming off her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, Jankovic has fallen far from her No. 1 ranking in 2008 and hasn’t been back to a title match at a major tournament since the U.S. Open that year. With confidence on her side, Radwanska knew patience would pay off.
“Especially with the hot conditions, you really have to fight more yourself than against the opponent,” she said.
Jankovic had 37 unforced errors to 15 for Radwanska, who reached the fourth round at the U.S. Open for the first time since 2008. She has never been to the quarter-finals here.
“I think everything could happen today,” Radwanska said. “So what I was trying to do, just fight ’til the end. Was a lot of the games that was like 30-all, 30-love, and then suddenly I was winning the games. It was a lot of weird points.”
And a lot of long rallies, which both players tend to produce. On Saturday, they had six of at least 20 shots.
“We always have to run a lot in our matches, for sure,” Radwanska said.
Her next opponent is 20th-seeded Roberta Vinci, who beat No. 13 seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 7-5.
Nicolas Almagro, seeded 11th on the men’s side, beat American teenager Jack Sock 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-1 to reach the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time.
Other top players on court Saturday include Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Americans Sloane Stephens, Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey are also scheduled to play.